The cheerful image of sunflowers adorns many items. I’ve always admired them from a distance but this year, for the first time, I had some growing in my yard.
While watching their progress I realized they had a few important lessons to teach me.
Lesson one was to keep on growing. Although fall was closing in and the nighttime temperatures were dipping to the freezing mark, these flowers kept on growing. They taught me that I don’t have to have ideal conditions to grow. Personal growth is achievable in all seasons of my life.
The second lesson was to keep my head high. No matter what happens, it’s important to keep looking up. Even though I make mistakes, God can redeem them. I can’t be used by him if I’m standing in despair with my head hung in shame. It’s God’s plan and not my own that I need to trust in.
The next lesson was to spread seeds of happiness. I’ve learned that one sunflower can have up to 2,000 seeds. The black seeds make oil and the striped ones are for snacking. This taught me that I don’t have to be the same as everyone else in order to spread seeds of happiness. I can do this through words of support and encouragement, through acts of service, a smile or a hug. The positive effects get passed on and the results can be far reaching.
Lesson four was to focus on the sunny side. Sunflowers turn their heads to face the sun. Helen Keller said “Keep your face to the sun and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” I like that thought. For me it means to keep my eyes on the Lord and let his light shine on me. When I find myself temporarily in the shadows, I have faith that he will lead me through them and into the sun once again.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26 NIV)